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A Day in the Life of Mary Kaufman

Mary is mom to Bethany, 5, and Adam, 3. Bethany has gastrointestinal/feeding challenges and Adam was diagnosed with autism. Originally from New Jersey, Mary and her husband, Dan, who works in finance, live with their family in the Mid-Cities area.

5:30AM Adam begins kicking the sides of his crib and shouting that he wants to “get out.” We share a room with him because we’re in a small apartment for now. We still own our house in New Jersey and had to wait until we could find suitable renters before we could commit to a bigger apartment here.

5:45AM I get Adam out of his crib and let him play with his cars while I doze for a few more minutes. My husband is away on business, as is very often the case, so it’s just me today.

6:10AM Bethany wakes up.

6:15AM I get the kids set up in front of a TiVo’d episode of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood while I get dressed and put on makeup.

6:45AM I lay out clothes for Bethany and she gets dressed while I dress Adam and change his diaper.

7:05AM We all sit down to breakfast. 

7:15AM The kids are finished with breakfast and promptly begin fighting over a toy.

7:40AM Now they’re bored, so I turn on an episode of Between the Lions. I make Adam’s lunch and set up Bethany’s homeschool lesson while they watch.

8:30AM We gather our things and leave for Adam’s center, Behavioral Innovations. I’m meeting with his lead consultant today so I have to make sure I bring a lot of stuff keep Bethany entertained.

9AM We arrive at the center and I meet with the lead consultant. She fills me in on Adam’s progress and also on areas in which he continues to struggle.

11AM Bethany and I leave the center and head home.  

11:30AM I fix Bethany some lunch and catch up on some phone calls to our insurance company and to her GI. We saw him recently and are awaiting some test results.   

12PM Bethany and I sit down and do her homeschool lessons.

12:45PM I read two chapters of The Magician’s Nephew (book 1 of the Chronicles of Narnia series) to Bethany and then she settles down for a nap.

1PM I clean up the kitchen, start the dishwasher and throw in a load of laundry. Then I sit down and start filling out this month’s insurance claim forms.  

2:30PM I flip on PBS to watch Cook’s Country and begin clipping coupons from last Sunday’s paper. I am that crazy lady at Kroger with an Excel spreadsheet for a grocery list and an overstuffed binder of coupons!

3PM Bethany wakes up. I give her a snack and then we head off to pick up Adam at BI.

4PM We pick up Adam and head home. I am subjected to both kids screaming and fighting for most of the ride. Adam doesn’t like to leave the center and Bethany doesn’t like it when Adam yells, so they wind up trying to out-scream each other most days. I silently repeat my mantra, “Serenity Now!”  

4:30PM The kids play while I throw together a quick dinner of leftover minestrone soup and sourdough bread.

5:15PM I put the kids in the car and we head for the gym so that I can take a spin class. The kids enjoy being able to run around and play in the gym's playroom—something they can’t do in our apartment for fear of bothering the neighbors.

6:50PM We arrive home and I get the kids into the bathtub. No easy feat, since Adam won’t let me wash his hair. I use M&Ms as a reinforcement, which helps.  

7:10PM Bethany shows me a suspicious red rash around her g-tube button. I make a mental note to call the GI tomorrow.

7:20PM We call Daddy to say goodnight. He’s in San Francisco this week and the kids are excited when he tells them all about Fisherman’s Wharf.

7:45PM I put Adam to bed (after our routine of a kiss, our special “Zoodle” song and then a check to be sure he has each and every toy car he wants in the crib) then read Bethany another two chapters of The Magician’s Nephew before tucking her in. I don’t hook her up to her feeding pump tonight because she took in enough calories orally today. I log all of this information into my notebook and call her GI weekly with updates on her feeding and weight.  

8PM I take a shower, then log on to the computer to check in on the infant-reflux disease Web site I help moderate.

9:15PM Still on the computer, now reading posts on the homeschooling moms’ Web site I belong to.

9:45PM I fold some laundry, get tomorrow’s homeschool lesson organized and e-mail my husband to remind him to pick up some Ghirardelli chocolate while he’s in San Fran!

10:30PM Bedtime for mommy. Whew, I sure wish I could train Adam to sleep in until 6AM!